What my dad didn’t like about punk was that I suddenly became very opinionated, cynical and was constantly stealing his clothes. As well as loving the music and the spirit of it all, I knew that I had to hate things.
Mods vs rockers. punks v teds. The media loved to portray dressed-up lads fighting on the beaches or the Kings Road. But if you lived in a small town in the late ’70s, there weren’t always many ready-made groups to rage your punk sneers at.
Most kids I knew liked top 30 music – soul-pop and corny blues rock. There wasn’t much to hate apart from their sheer unthinking sheep-like behaviour. If you tried to argue music with, say, a Billy Joel fan, they would just shrug and be decent. With no teds, skins or mods around, the only type of guy you could have a row about music with were the hippies.
And by hippies, I mean those lads with long stringy hair who put Freebird on the jukebox and mimed to it. To my 17-year-old female self, this kind of regular revolting sight in the local underage pub was what punk was made for – putting a stop to Freebird. And probably Smoke on the Water too.
1 thought on “What was punk against? #1 Freebird”
As someone who lived in Central Florida in the 70s, I’m here to tell you that Florida [home to Lynrd Skynrd, The Outlaws, Molly Hatchet and many others] was the epicenter of the Southern Rock genre. I’ve been known to develop a disturbing facial twitch if exposed to a playback of “Free Bird” to this day, so I hear you loud and clear. I have probably heard it 376 times, and that’s 375 times too many, but at least “Smoke On The Water” has a riff that won’t quit. And even the album version of that one is just nearly half as long as the interminable 9:08 “Free Bird.” “Free Bird” was America’s moral equivalent of “Stairway to Heaven!”